Owners upset after dog euthanized after hit by car - WSMV Channel 4

Owners upset after dog euthanized after hit by car

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MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) -

A Midstate family is outraged after their 7-month-old Siberian husky was put down after he ran off. The dog had been hit by a car and then was euthanized just hours after being picked up by animal control.

While the owners are angry and upset, folks at an area rescue group say they had no choice.

"I just feel like it's more of a murder than him dying of an accident," said owner Matthew Ricciardi.

The puppy named Cooper was hit Tuesday right in front of Family Video on Northfield Boulevard in Murfreesboro, and the driver didn't bother to stick around to see if he was OK.

Cooper and Lacy, a boxer-lab mix, managed to get out of a fenced in backyard while their owners were away and wandered out onto the busy road.

"He was nowhere to be found, so we knew something was wrong," Ricciardi said.

Ricciardi tried calling Rutherford County Pet Adoption & Welfare Services but only got an answering machine.

He then called Murfreesboro police, who told him to contact PAWS during normal business hours.

After searching for hours, Ricciardi gave up and returned home, but his girlfriend found an online posting of Cooper laying on a sidewalk from a witness who was looking for its owners.

Their excitement turned to anger when they found out the dog survived the accident, but after Rutherford County PAWS took it to the Animal Medical Center, it was put down within an hour or two of arriving.

"I was furious and called every medical vet center in the area, including the Animal Medical Center," Ricciardi said. "They told me they didn't have a husky hit by a car, and they did. Cooper was there."

The dog had a shattered pelvis and was in extreme pain. An X-ray shows he had several fractures.

The veterinarian on duty at the time, Dr. Ann Tipton, told PAWS it would have cost $1,500 to $3,000 for surgery, according to a PAWS activity report filed by an animal control officer.

The problem was the dog had no ID tag and no microchip, so the owners couldn't be contacted to make the decision on their own about care.

"I had the cash. I could pay for his surgery," Ricciardi said. "He waited in the waiting room for 30 minutes. They gave him no pain medication. They said they didn't think the pain medication wouldn't help because he was crying and in pain."

The dog's owners are pointing fingers at the animal center.

"They are the one who killed him," Breann Lynn said. "That's what I consider. It's a murder."

"It's a sad situation based on the fact that the owner wasn't able to make the decision about the care or lack of care for the animal," said PAWS director Michael Gregory. "The vet did examine the animal and due to the extent of the injuries, the animal needed to be humanely euthanized."

The owners wanted to at least get the dog's body to bury, but a cremation service had already picked up the animal from PAWS and disposed of it.

The dog's owners said the Animal Medical Center did give them an apology, but they said an apology is simply not good enough.

Tipton, the veterinarian, told Channel 4 News, "This is unfortunate that this has occurred, but it shows the importance of having a name tag, a rabies tag or microchip on your pet. I feel for this family, and it breaks my heart, and this is not something I like to do."

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